Staffing shortages, lack of leadership plague N.B. health-care system: advocate
FREDERICTON -- For the next 10 days, people are being asked to avoid Moncton's Georges Dumont Hospital -- if they can help it.
The hospital is over its occupancy rate and the overflow is affecting the ER.
Vitalite Health Network says the culprit is staff shortages and seniors having to wait in hospital for a nursing home bed.
"I was in there one night with one of my family - and the sign said the wait today will be I think it said nine hours or something like that, so we've got to fix that," said healthcare advocate Ken McGeorge. "And it's fixable. Other hospitals have fixed it. Why can't we?"
McGeorge is speaking of an experience at Fredericton's Everett Chalmers hospital.
In the early 1990s, he helped restructure the province's hospital system and recently published a book on healthcare reform.
He believes the solution is out there.
"It's organization and it's leadership," McGeorge says. "Somebody's got to lead the charge here and make this happen and it's going to require some thought patterns to change, with some physicians, some nurses and the public."
Almost half of the physician job postings listed on the government website are for the northern areas of the province. Some postings have been there since 2017 and many of them list the start date as "as soon as possible."
"We've always had trouble trying to recruit to New Brunswick," says Dr. Chris Goodyear, the president of the Medical Society of New Brunswick. "That's why the medical society is advocating for a human resource strategy when it comes to the recruitment and retention of doctors and nurses and nurse practitioners."
The medical society says the province needs 300 doctors over the next few years.
Dr. Goodyear says the province needs to do better at identifying New Brunswickers who are in medical school or residency programs and advertising across the country.
"And we also need to make sure that people who want to come here and work have a streamlined process by which they can cut through a lot of red tape," Dr. Goodyear said. "Whether it's rural or urban New Brunswick, they know they are wanted. They know they can have a job here."
Ottawa has given New Brunswick $218 million to help with the pressures of COVID-19 on the healthcare system.
Some of that may be used for capacity issues facing hospitals.
The mayor of Moncton and Vitalite Health Network were both contacted to comment on the situation at the Georges-Dumont, but neither responded to CTV News.